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European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering said Wednesday in a meeting with Israel's chief rabbis that he would support the establishment of an "interfaith United Nations" that would bring together religious leaders from all over the world to promote peace.
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger first proposed the idea at an interfaith meeting several months ago. But Metzger said that Wednesday's meeting with Pottering marked the first time a political figure had shown interest in concrete steps towards achieving that idea.
"After our meeting, the president sent an envoy to discuss in more detail the creation of an international body made up of religious leaders who could foster peace," said Metzger.
"I envision the body being based in the holy city of Jerusalem, which is sacred to the three monotheistic religious. But disputes over its location should not delay the establishment of the interfaith UN," Metzger added.
In a press release, the Chief Rabbinate said an interfaith UN could help combat anti-Semitism.
Metzger said that the controversy sparked by the Mughrabi bridge excavations near the Temple Mount was a perfect example of how dialogue between religious leaders assuaged religious extremist rancor sparked by misinformation.
"After explaining in the international media that construction of the bridge did not endanger Al-Aksa Mosque, people calmed down," said Metzger.
The rabbis and Pottering also discussed last week's arson attack on the Hekhal Haness Synagogue in Geneva. Pottering suggested awarding extra-territorial status similar to that granted to embassies to synagogues, mosques, churches and other religious buildings.
In addition to his meeting with the rabbis, Pottering held a series of meetings with politicians in the Knesset Wednesday.
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